UPDATE: Chavez broke more than a week and a half of silence yesterday and called in from Havana. He said he could be back in Venezuela as soon as Thursday.
Anytime Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez stays out of the limelight for a few days the rumors begin flying. In Cuba receiving radiation therapy for an undisclosed form of cancer, Chavez hasn't made one of his usual TV or radio appearances in more than five days. Here's an AP story about it.
While his Twitter account is being updated, the rumors on social networks and the web have him in critical condition. His lieutenants have been trying to squelch the rumors and have said he's engaged, active and working as he goes through the treatment.
Over the weekend, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said Chavez will be returning to Venezuela this week. With elections looming Oct 7, the charismatic Chavez needs to start pressing the flesh to keep his campaign on track. His rival, Henrique Capriles, has mocked him for trying to govern via Twitter.
"These bitter people never learn," Cabello said. "They've spent days saying that the Commander is dead. The only one who doesn't have a life is [Capriles]."